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Chicken of the Woods,sulphur polypore, sulphur shelf, and chicken mushroom

Laetiporus sulphureus


Often called the "chicken of the woods," Laetiporus sulphureus used to be an easily recognized orange polypore with fairly soft flesh, widely distributed in North America. However, recent DNA and mating studies (see Burdsall & Banik, 2001) have complicated things, since diverse North American "Laetiporus sulphureus" specimens did not feel like throwing a Transcontinental Gene-Exchange Festival in the laboratory. The resulting six North American species (and one species variety) of Laetiporus also demonstrate clear ecological separation, occurring in different ecosystems and/or performing different ecological roles. Laetiporus sulphureus, it turns out, is limited to eastern North American hardwood forests, where it causes a brown heart rot in the wood of standing and fallen oaks and other hardwoods. Since it is a heart rot fungus, the mushrooms appear above ground (often high on the tree)--or in a position that would have been above ground before the trunk fell. Laetiporus cincinnatus also appears in eastern hardwood forests, but is a root and butt rot fungus and therefore appears at the butt of the tree or on the ground near its base (additionally, Laetiporus cincinnatus has a whitish, rather than yellow, pore surface). See the notes below on three other North American species. ( )


location: North America, Europe edibility: Choice fungus colour: Yellow, Orange normal size: over 15cm cap type: Other stem type: Lateral, rudimentary or absent spore colour: White, cream or yellowish habitat: Grows on wood Laetiporus sulphureus (Bull. ex Fr.) Murr. syn. Polyporus sulphureus Bull. ex Fr. Sulphur Shelf, Schwefelporling Polypore soufré, Chicken of the Woods. Bracket 10–40cm across, fan-shaped or irregularly semicircular, thick and fleshy, usually in large tiered groups; upper surface uneven, lumpy, and wrinkled, suede-like, lemon-yellow or yellow-orange drying pallid or straw-coloured; margin obtuse. Flesh at first succulent and exuding a yellowish juice when squeezed, but white and crumbly with age. Taste pleasant and slightly sourish, smell strong and fungusy. Tubes 1.5–3mm long, sulphur-yellow. Pores 1–3 per mm, circular or ovoid, sulphur-yellow. Spores white, ellipsoid to broadly ovate, 5–7 x 3.5–4.5um. Hyphal structure dimitic with generative and binding hyphae; generative hyphae without clamp-connections. Habitat deciduous trees, usually oak but common also on yew, cherry, sweet chestnut and willow. Season late spring to autumn, annual. Common. Edible when young and fresh, considered a delicacy in Germany and North America. Distribution, America and Europe. Comment there is a form of this fungus which has a white pore surface, and some authors recognize this as Laetiporus sulphureus var. semialbinus syn. Laetiporus cincinnatus. ( )


----Allergic effects Some people have had gastrointestinal upset after eating this mushroom. Studies have shown severe adverse reactions in about 10% of the population, including vomiting and fever. ------Medicinal The mushroom produces the Laetiporus sulphureus lectin (LSL) which has hemolytic and hemagglutination activities. Hemolytic lectins are sugar-binding proteins that lyse and agglutinate cells. The hemagglutination and hemolytic activity are started by binding carbohydrates. ----------- Laetiporus sulphureus was first described as Boletus sulphureus by French mycologist Pierre Bulliard in 1789. It has had many synonyms, and finally gained its current name in 1920 by American mycologist William Murrill. Laetiporus means with bright pores and sulphureus means the color of sulphur.[1] Phylogenetic analyses of ITS, nuclear large subunit and mitochondrial small subunit rDNA sequences from a variety of North American species has delineated five distinct clades within the core Laetiporus clade:[2] Conifericola clade: contains species that live on conifers, such as L. conifericola and L. huroniensis. All of the other tested species grow on angiosperms. Cincinnatus clade: contains L. cincinnatus Sulphureus clade I: contains white-pored L. sulfureus isolates. Sulphureus clade II: contains yellow-pored L. sulfureus isolates. Gilbertsonii clade: contains L. gilbertsonii and unidentified Caribbean isolates Investigations in North America have shown that there are several similar species within what has been considered L. sulphureus, and that the true L. sulphureus might be restricted to regions east of the Rocky Mountains (wikipedia)

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Heerlen, Limburg, Netherlands

Lat: 50.88, Long: 5.99

Spotted on Oct 6, 2011
Submitted on Feb 6, 2012

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